Friday, July 21, Marks the End for 100-Year-Old Main Street Bridge
In just a few short hours on Friday night—and following several years of vigorous debate regarding its fate—the Main Street Bridge quickly passed into history, paving the way for a temporary bridge that will improve the safety of the public passing over and the trains passing under Middlebury’s main street.
Kubricky quickly and methodically executed its weekend plan, removing roadway asphalt and concrete on the National Bank end of Main Street before turning its attention around 5 PM to the main order of business.
Deploying two large excavators, one outfitted with a hoeram (see photo), the Kubricky crew systematically demolished the 100-year-old bridge deck, which consisted of steel rails and rebar-reinforced concrete. By 11 PM, much of the bridge had been pulled up onto the roadway or pushed down into the rail corridor, which had been protected by crane mats and demo blankets.
The quickness of the demolition highlighted the deteriorated condition of the bridge and in particular its sidewalks, whose underlying concrete, supported only with mesh steel, had mostly disintegrated.
Dozens of townspeople and visitors gathered to witness the work as afternoon passed into evening, taking pictures and taking in this once-in-a-lifetime event. (The Merchants Row Bridge is scheduled to be demolished this coming Friday, July 28.) I will post photos on the blog in the next day or two.
Saturday Clean-Up and Prep Work. Once the bridge deck was down, Kubricky, working 24 hours a day, demolished the piers that had been installed at a later date to support the roadway and began the time-consuming process of removing debris from the rail corridor. Much of that work had been completed as the sun rose on Saturday.
During the day Saturday and into the evening, the task turned to preparing for the installation of the Main Street temporary bridge and pedestrian bridge during this coming week.
By 2 AM Sunday morning, all work was completed and Kubricky left Middlebury 24 hours ahead of schedule.
What’s on Tap Monday: Main Street. Kubricky is back in town starting at 7 AM to set the precast concrete bridge abutments manufactured by J. P. Carrara & Sons and to transport the Mabey bridge into the Main Street construction zone to begin assembly of the new temporary bridge. No activity on Merchants Row. Normal working hours this week Monday-Thursday.
Impact On Downtown. By all accounts, downtown merchants did a brisk business on Friday and Saturday, helped by the arrival of Keewaydin parents for a weekend visit. As one Main Street store manager told me, “We rocked it this weekend.” Middlebury Inn, fully booked for the weekend, told me they had just one complaint about noise from a guest on Friday night. Inn on the Green had no guest complaints. Traffic did get tied up, especially at the top of Merchants Row and on Route 7 passing through Court Square. The “Printer’s Alley Detour” sign threw several people off; I’ll try to get that fixed during the week.
PLEASE MAKE NOTE OF THESE KEY DATES
Thursday, July 27: New pedestrian bridge connecting the National Bank of Middlebury to the Post Office opens. Printer’s Alley reopens to pedestrians.
Thursday, July 27: Merchants Row closed from Main Street to Court Square/South Pleasant Street. Battell Building parking lot closed to all vehicles until at least Wednesday, August 2. Pedestrian access to the parking lot will be maintained. We will work with all Merchants Row businesses to manage deliveries.
Thursday, July 27: Main Street closed from Bakery Lane to the Post Office. No through traffic downtown. All delivery vehicles able to access Main Street businesses.
IMPORTANT: Main Street and Merchants Row closed from Thursday, July 27, through Friday, August 4. Main Street reopens on Saturday, August 5. No through traffic downtown.
Merchants Row reopens Saturday, August 12.
ALL DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES REMAIN OPEN. You can get to every Merchants Row and Main Street business. I will discuss specific routes later in the week.
At our request, VTrans agreed to invest in providing a downtown shuttle service with ACTR in order to bring employees and shoppers into the central downtown from town-owned parking lots at the Memorial Sports Center/Town Swimming Pool and on Mill Street. The goal is to provide park and ride facilities for the town. The service runs Monday-Saturday 8 AM – 6 PM in a continuous shuttle through downtown. Top wait time = about 10 minutes.
Employees Who Work Downtown: Please take advantage of this shuttle service. Do not take parking spaces on Seymour Street, on South Pleasant Street, in the Marble Works, on College Street, or behind the Ilsley Library. These spaces should be for those with business in town only.
Downtown Information Booth Now Open
The Middlebury Rail & Bridge Project opened as planned on Saturday in Cannon Park. Thanks to Eric Davis, Wendy Hirdler, and the Shashok family for taking Day 1 duty and answering the questions of locals and visitors alike. Staffing the booth on Monday: Linda Horn (10-12), John Snyder-White (12-2), and Laura Asermily (2-4). Stop by and say hello. Hours of operation: 10 AM – 4 PM Monday-Saturday. Out of 54 slots, members of our community have volunteered to fill all but 5. Grab one of the last slots here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4cadad28a4fc1-volunteers
Heads Up on St. Stephen’s Sidewalk. Kubricky installed a new drainage structure in front of St. Stephen’s that will improve drainage for that building and the downtown area. Completing that work meant removing a few feet of sidewalk on the pathway to the Church. Please use caution when entering St. Stephen’s front door.
A Killer Lobster Roll. Kubricky’s overall project lead, with whom we have worked on planning the project over the past year, was in town on Friday evening to check out the progress and we headed for dinner to Two Brothers. Great new menu. I had the lobster roll and a Matt Brewing Double IPA. That combo was so good that on Saturday, after another 12-hour day in the construction zone, I headed right back to 2Bs with my wife for the exact same dinner.
See you downtown.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.